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I was just flipping through Slashdot, and I came upon an interesting article about the flaws of using a free typeface under the GNU Public License, or GPL. It appears that embedding one of those typefaces into any document makes it subject to the GPL.
Some of the comments were particularly interesting such as this one:
by dr.badass (25287) on Sunday April 17, @11:04PM (#12266364)
I have to agree, the largest failing of Linux (and Java for that matter) is a good set of fonts. Why not make a bunch of truely Public Domain fonts so everyone can use them?
There are plenty of public domain faces out on the web, but they're mostly of the novelty variety, and aren't really terribly relevant. Excepting them, here is why this hasn't happened yet:
1) Good type design is pretty hard.
2) Good type design for all-purpose screen fonts is really hard.
3) Tools are either expensive or crap.
4) Good type designers cost money.
5) There just isn't much incentive.
6) Open source community attitude toward design issues generally sucks.
It's a good idea, but the people to convince are professional type designers and foundries. Bitstream Vera is a (the only?) example I can think of like this, though it's merely under "generous copyright".